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50 Chechen Separatists Surrender to Authorities


Fifty Chechen militants surrendered their weapons to authorities Tuesday, taking advantage of the Russian government's offer of amnesty.

The former insurgents turned themselves in during a ceremony in the city of Gudermes as the Kremlin-backed Prime Minister of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, looked on.

Some of the fighters said they were tired of being on the run and are ready to return to normal life.

The Chechen government has given security guarantees to the fighters and promises of aid.

Authorities offered the amnesty to insurgents not suspected of major crimes after last month's death of Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev. Basayev was Russia's most wanted man and claimed responsibility for the 2004 Beslan school massacre.

The Kremlin says the separatist war in Chechnya is largely over, but rebels still launch occasional attacks.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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